Kroger has opened a 52,000 sq. ft store in downtown Cincinnati, which features a 7,000 sq. ft dedicated food hall on the second floor, seating up to 200.
The food hall is named On the Rhine Eatery and features several third-party restaurants, as well as Kroger's own restaurant concept, 1883. This is the second 1883 location and it includes a large outdoor seating area, along with a full-service bar. Other restaurant offers include Eli's Barbeque, DOPE! Asian Street Fare, Queen City Whip and Django Western Taco. By offering a wide variety of cuisines, the food hall has something to appeal to everyone and aligns well with the Cincinnati food scene. Kroger hopes that the store will act as an integral part of the local community, providing a place to meet and relax.
A wide appeal
The new store is located at the base of an 18-story high rise in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, just one block from the retailers headquarters. This makes it a great place to test the new concept and Kroger will experiment with several initiatives to provide learnings for the future. The store is positioned to attract many downtown workers, particularly at mealtimes, as well as high footfall from passersby and local residents. There is also parking for those arriving by car. At 52,000 sq. ft, this is the largest downtown store that the retailer has opened. The new concept takes inspiration from Mariano's, a Chicago based chain that Kroger purchased in 2015. Many convenience options are available, with grab and go and meals for later, as well as the traditional grocery offer.
Trialling new initiatives
As well as offering its online delivery and pick up service, the store will introduce Kroger Rush, a new service offering 30-minute delivery for certain items. It also plans to add restaurant delivery, allowing customers to order from their choice of restaurant and have it delivered to their home or office. The store features a Starbucks offering an exclusive coffee blend and is trialling a walk up window for drink orders to provide added convenience.
Kroger has already introduced third-party foodservice operators into some of its stores, however, this is the first time it has opened a store with a dedicated food hall, designed to create a destination status. By including an outdoor seating area along with TV's and a space for live music, the food hall offers a space for the community to congregate and is the next step of development in the blurring of lines between grocery and food service.
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